Real Madrid has terminated Hazard’s contract a year ahead of schedule, underscoring the unpredictable nature of expensive transfers in football. While clubs invest heavily in pursuit of success, the outcomes are not always favorable, as evidenced by these costly mistakes in the sport’s history.


7. Alvaro Morata: Real Madrid – Chelsea (2017)
Despite being represented by a highly regarded agent, Alvaro Morata struggled to consistently score goals. His move from Real Madrid to Chelsea for £60m ($75m) was based on a promising 15-goal performance in the Primera Division. However, his 18-month stint at Stamford Bridge saw him manage just 16 Premier League goals, leading to criticism. In January 2019, Morata joined Atletico Madrid on loan, and his goal return fell short of expectations.


6. Nicolas Pepe: Lille – Arsenal (2019)
Nicolas Pepe’s tenure at Arsenal had its ups and downs. Despite showing promise in the 2020-21 season, his final year saw a decline in form, with only one Premier League goal. Younger and more skilled players displaced him in the starting lineup, prompting a loan move to Nice. Arsenal faces challenges recouping the £79m paid for him in 2019, given his contract expiration in 2024.

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5. Romelu Lukaku: Inter – Chelsea (2021)
Romelu Lukaku returned to Chelsea with aspirations to succeed, but his performance fell short despite finishing as the club’s top scorer in the 2021-22 season. Scoring only 15 goals in 44 appearances, coupled with controversial comments about the club and coach, strained his relationship with fans. Consequently, a return to Inter on loan became inevitable.

4. Paul Pogba: Juventus – Man Utd (2016)
Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United for a world-record £89.5m in 2016 didn’t live up to expectations. Despite winning trophies, Pogba’s inconsistent performances and public expressions of interest in other clubs led to fan discontent. In April 2022, he faced boos and profanities from some supporters. Eventually, Pogba made a return to Juventus.

3. Eden Hazard: Chelsea – Real Madrid (2019)
Eden Hazard’s decade-long transfer to Real Madrid was marred by weight issues and injuries. Despite winning trophies, including the Champions League, his contribution was minimal, earning him the tag of Real Madrid’s worst signing. His lack of impact, highlighted by missing every Clasico, overshadowed the successes.

2. Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool – Barcelona (2018)
Liverpool’s lucrative sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for €120m turned disastrous for the latter. The club struggled to integrate him, and confusion reigned over his role. After four years, Barcelona offloaded Coutinho to Aston Villa for a mere €20m, showcasing the extent of the financial misstep.

1. Harry Maguire: Leicester City – Man Utd (2019)
Despite a successful stint at Leicester, Harry Maguire’s £80m ($100m) move to Manchester United marked him as the world’s most expensive defender. However, his performances fell short, leading to fan criticism and doubts about his captaincy. It is anticipated that United will offload him for considerably less than his original fee.